Health Groups Vow Cost Control $2 Trillion in Savings Offered Over Decade, White House Says
By Michael A. Fletcher and Ceci Connolly Washington Post Staff Writers Monday, May 11, 2009
Volunteering to "do our part" to tackle runaway health costs, leading groups in the health-care industry have offered to squeeze $2 trillion in savings from projected increases over the next decade, White House officials said yesterday.
The pledge comes amid a debate over how, or whether, to overhaul the nation's health-care system, and Obama administration officials predicted that it will significantly increase momentum for passing such changes this year.
The offer simultaneously increases momentum and the watering down of the resulting legislation.
. . . there is no mechanism to ensure that the groups live up to their offer, only the implicit threat of public embarrassment. And it would be difficult to track whether they come up with the promised savings, other than the imprecise measure of comparing current projections of health-care cost increases with future actual costs.
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So, this headline 'breakthrough' offer has no teeth. Cool.
The healthcare industry will therefore plant itself square in the center of the debate and the legislation, under an umbrella of promised savings that is full of holes and folds up in a wind. Brilliant. Don't fight 'em, join 'em with rhetoric, mirage and ten-year promises that have no measurements and no mechanism for compliance except embarrassment.
We've seen how well that's worked over the past three decades. The only embarrassment of the health-care industry is the boldness with which it buys off Congress in its own interests.